The Periphery Of Unrecalled Memories: A Poem

You put it aside, the fact that she was your daughter.

You actually managed to do that. You almost managed

To end her. By accident. On purpose. In a haze. Shutting her

Out. Remorselessly, in a heartbeat, just like that.

A life or death decision. Left to chance.

You always underestimated how strong and resistant she was.


She held on to the life that you gave her and tried to make

It worthwhile. You made it so hard, everything you showed

Her, revealed to her. Your addiction. Your despair. Your unpredictability.

And she stood up to you, defying the death sentence you tried

To impose on her. She saved herself. Barely dressed, freezing,

In that winter’s night, barefoot on the roof, nothing seemed to shock her anymore.


The depths you fell in when you were in that state that

The suppressed war brought on yourself, that you

Continued to bring upon yourself, dragging it into the house,

The home, infected, within you, the spreading disease of death,

Calling you home, calling you helpless, the images coming back,

Acidic and bitter, the shame and guilt that deformed your body,

The memories, regurgitated, spiralling back up the throat,

The voice as if no time had passed, as if nobody had died.


She took a good look at your monsters that drove you,

Up the stairs, crashing against walls and balustrades,

Imbalanced footsteps, drooling, lulling, drenched,

Heavy, stained by unfulfilled desires, undermined morals,

Forgotten, the daughter, eyes on her body, hands on her body,

What happened when she fell asleep, what voices led you to her bed?


My mother in the making. The body that would hold mine.

The body that formed mine. All that pain. All those blindspots

In the brain, the desecrated sex, the child’s body undefended,

Unprotected, unbelievable, unheard, trying not to die,

Trying to forget, coping with things unsaid, the darkness within

Criminal men, acclaimed in daylight, haunting her at night.


“Liegender weiblicher Akt” by Egon Schiele (1890-1918)

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